Charges coming in Pat O'Hagan murder? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Charges coming in Pat O'Hagan murder?

Posted: Updated:
Michael Norrie Michael Norrie
Pat O'Hagan Pat O'Hagan
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Caledonia County prosecutor Lisa Warren confirmed Wednesday she is reviewing Pat O'Hagan's case for possible murder charges. The 78-year-old Sheffield grandmother was killed in 2010. Her body was discovered in Wheelock weeks later.

Suspects in her killing surfaced in a separate federal investigation into the illegal sale of firearms. The defendant was Michael Norrie, 23.

According to federal court documents in that case, Norrie told authorities he was with two other Northeast Kingdom men the night of O'Hagan's death, telling the feds he, Richard Fletcher and Keith Baird "did a bunch of crystal meth" and they wanted to get more money for drugs. That's when authorities say the men killed O'Hagan during a robbery attempt.

Despite admissions of involvement, state prosecutors have said they don't have enough evidence to go to trial, but assured the public there is no statute of limitations on murder. Vermont's attorney general reiterated that Wednesday, saying that his office doesn't have enough evidence to successfully bring murder charges yet.

"The problem for the prosecution is that even if the family wants them to go forward, they still have to make sure they have enough evidence under the law to do so," said Cheryl Hanna of the Vermont Law School.

But now, the state's attorney for Caledonia County tells WCAX News the case is still actively being investigated and is currently under further review.

"Prosecutors are now taking a second look at the evidence in light of all the events that have unfolded in this case and I think what they're doing is the right thing, which is their due diligence," Hanna said. "They're just making sure that based on the evidence they do have before them whether or not in fact they could bring charges."

Lisa Warren says her office may seek criminal charges in the fatal shooting of O'Hagan, depending on what the review turns up. She would not comment on whether Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage is taking over or assisting with the case. But Warren says generally in a case of this magnitude, it is a professional courtesy to assist each other, when offices are understaffed and under-resourced.

Legal expert Cheryl Hanna agrees.

"It's absolutely common practice to have a prosecutor in another county take a second look at a case particularly when you have a high-profile case and you want to make absolutely sure that your review of the evidence is a good review of the evidence," she said.

The state's review seems to have caught federal authorities off-guard. They are preparing for Norrie's sentencing in the firearms case. In paperwork filed earlier this week, Federal Prosecutor Tristram Coffin wrote, "It has been the understanding of the United States Attorney's Office that federal court would be the only forum in which the conduct surrounding the homicide of Mary "Pat" O'Hagan would be adjudged." Coffin goes on to say, "There now exists the reasonable possibility that the State's Attorney's Office may bring charges at the end of this re-examination" and "These are very different circumstances than had prevailed during the prior proceedings in this case."

Related Stories:

Clock runs out on some potential charges in O'Hagan case

Frustration over unsolved murder at Sheffield Field Day

Sheffield residents upset no charges in O'Hagan murder

Will suspects in Pat O'Hagan murder ever face charges?

Court documents: 3 suspects in custody in Pat O'Hagan's death

Judge: Sheffield man's comments on Pat O'Hagan's death usable

Police again search home of murder victim Pat O'Hagan

Second cop testifies about confession in Vt. killing

Vt. police publicly acknowledge partial confession in O'Hagan case

Detective: Man was confessing in Pat O'Hagan murder

Police say more than 1 involved in Pat O'Hagan's murder

Unsolved murder leaves void in Sheffield

Police search for evidence near Pat O'Hagan's house

O'Hagan family, Vt. police mark 3 month murder investigation

Students pay tribute to Vt. murder victim

Tears, memories shared at Pat O'Hagan's funeral

Body found in Wheelock ID'd as Pat O'Hagan

Police: Body found in Wheelock is likely O'Hagan

Sheffield residents devastated by discovery

Vigil held for Pat O'Hagan

Grandmother kidnapping case now 1 week old

Community comes together to support Pat O'Hagan

Helicopter scans NEK for clues in grandmother's abduction

NEK clings to hope for abducted grandmother

Police: Missing Vt. woman likely abducted

Police offer few details on NEK search

Police: Potential for foul play in Sheffield case

Missing woman in Sheffield

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.